52 Weeks of Fun

Not Just Destination Finders, But Destination Storytellers


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Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo


The Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo is a special kind of petting zoo with a focus on children and healthy family fun. Everything done here centers on the understanding that passive observation of zoo animals is not enough. People, especially children, need to be engaged. All senses are used to explore, manipulate and discover. Although the focus is clearly on fun for families visiting central New York, the zoo has a higher mission. It is committed to the belief that children who have experienced the joy of kind and gentle interaction with animals are more likely to care about wildlife and conservation as adults. To that end, the zoo strives to provide the highest quality care for its animals while providing the best in healthy, outdoor family entertainment and education.

Located in Rome, New York, Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo offers engaging animal interactions with fun activities for kids of all ages. Fort Rickey is home to a variety of native and exotic animals, many of which are featured in daily hands-on educational presentations. All the animals living here are pampered, loved, and provided with everything they need for their physical and mental well-being. Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo takes great pride in its level of animal care which is always the top priority.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the amazing Tegu Lizard who will point you to the gift shop for admission. Across from the shop is the Twin Pine Picnic Grove, providing a classic camp style picnic area where visitors are welcome to bring their own lunch. Just past the gift shop is the deck leading to the otters, Tuck and Roll. The best time to visit them is early in the day or late afternoon, as they do enjoy midday napping. Beyond the otters is the Petting Area on the right, the Maternity Ward on the left, and on the center lawn, the Gazebo where the snake presentation is held twice a day.

The petting zoo at Fort Rickey offers a unique experience as guests feed and mingle with tame deer in a large scenic enclosure. Visitors will also enjoy the “Maternity Ward” where there is a baby pygmy goat play yard for holding and cuddling, a very popular place in the zoo. Other attractions in this area include a giant tunnel and tube slide maze with a ball crawl, a “Jumbo Jumper” pillow bounce, and a “Water Wars” water balloon game that is certain to thrill and chill on those hot days.

Walking the loop around the zoo visitors will find well-manicured, spacious enclosures housing capybara, wallabies, emus, bison, lemurs, and the eagle owl. There is a beautiful swan pond where visitors can feed swan, ducks, or fish right off its dock. Continuing on the loop, visitors will come across the Wild Creatures Playland, pass the Scottish Highland Cattle, North American Porcupines, Spider Monkeys, and the Friendly Barnyard. There, visitors are invited to feed and pet alpacas, sheep, mini-donkeys, ponies, chickens, and bunnies. Further along the path, the majestic grey wolves can be seen. Quite often they love to run with children along the road. Hidden here is a short nature trail that leads to the tiny magical fairy village.

Those visiting the Wild Creatures Playland will find a sweets concession stand with picnic tables, offering refreshments with classic kid-friendly food. Here is a pavilion and rooms for birthday parties! The zoo’s commitment is to allow children to discover nature while making one-of-a-kind creature connections in a fun, safe, and clean environment.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo

Children who experience joy in the kind and gentle interaction with animals are more likely to care about wildlife and conservation as adults.

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  • Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo
  • Rome
  • (315) 336-1930